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Welcome to the Brooksville 1885 Railroad Depot Museum.

Depot History

In the 1880’s America experienced a vast expanse of railroads. 75,000 miles of track were built. The state of Florida went from 500 miles of track to 2,489 miles of track in ten years.

Four forward thinking business leaders in the tiny town of Brooksville were eager to bring the railroad to their area. They formed the Brooksville Railroad Association and The Brooksville Telegraph Company.

JJ Hale & Dr. W.S. Hancock

They paid $20,000 to The Florida Southern Railroad to lay track twelve miles from the main line at Croom, to Brooksville. Bonds were sold and the Train Depot built in 1885. The building still stands today. W.S. Hancock and Frank Saxon became officers of the telegraph company.

 

first florida southern train in brooksville 1886

 

The Florida Southern Railroad was part the Plant railroad system. Henry Plant took his railroad to Tampa and beyond. He aided the development of Tampa as a major port.



During the early 1900’s large sawmills often built railroads to carry their lumber. The Aripeka sawmill owned and operated the Brooksville and Hudson Railroad. In 1911 it was bought by the Tampa Northern Railroad, with tracks running from Tampa to Fivay in Pasco, to Wiscon, Tooke Lake,  Centralia and Brooksville in Hernando County.

The Atlantic Coast Line bought Florida Southern and both Atlantic Coast Line and Tampa Northern serviced the Brooksville Depot.

The Atlantic Coast Line bought Florida Southern and both Atlantic Coast Line and Tampa Northern serviced the Brooksville Depot.

After the Stock Market Crash in 1929, the railroad business plummeted. The spur to Tooke Lake and Centralia was closed, along with many other little used railroads.

Trucks hauled freight and automobiles took the place of passenger train cars. Railroads fought back with piggy back flat cars that hauled the loaded trucks. Railroads offered special excursion train rides. School groups rode the train from Brooksville to Tampa for day long field trips. The railroad offered vacation packages to South Florida to Brooksville travelers.

These efforts were not successful and railroad use continued to decline. By the early 1960’s the tracks at the Brooksville depot were gone. The depot was used as an administrative office a few more years before it closed completely. 

In 1967 the two big railroads, Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard merged and called the new railroad, Seaboard Coast Line. (SCL) In 1980 another merger of several railroads caused the formation of the CSX railroad, the largest railroad system in the United States. The vacant Brooksville Train Depot became the property of the CSX railroad. 

In 1991 The Hernando Historical Museum Association purchased the 1885 Train Depot along with an acre and half of land from CSX for $12,600 and restored the building. It is now a museum for visitors to enjoy. The Hernando Historical Museum Association is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization.

©2014 All Rights Reserved by Hernando Historical Museum Association
Brooksville Historical Train Depot | #70 Russell Street, Brooksville, FL 34601 | Phone: 352 799-4766
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